Perfecting Potatoes

From BAKED  (vintage vendor cart)  to FRIES  (Pommes Frites in Belgium)  to . . .    COCKTAIL status?

Perfecting Potatoes

Enter:  MASHTINI  (aka MashPatini)

Mashed potatoes served in a martini glass — A fun and elegant way to present potatoes.

I encountered my first Mashtini/MashPatini Bar at the After Party of WordCampPhoenix (a fabulous weekend of learning more about websites and blogs!).  Served as part of an appetizer ‘bar’, we scooped creamy mashed Voilá -a delicious, satisfying and very elegant serving of a comfort food!Perfecting Potatoes

I  thought this was such clever creative idea – one of those “why haven’t we thought of this before?” things when I discovered it has been thought of before!   In doing a little research (it didn’t take much) I came across a reference from waaaay back in 2010 – yikes. Where have I been?Perfecting Potatoes - Mashtinis & MashPatinis

 Mashtini/MashPatini bars have apparently become quite popular, especially in the catering aspect for banquets, weddings, even holiday parties. Think of it… the options are endless as are the ‘flavors’, combination of toppings and presentations.Perfecting Potatoes - Mashtini/MashPatini

Thanks to Bob Evans (refrigerated mashed potato company), the Mashtini has been elevated to elegant ‘cocktail’ status. More than just mashed potatoes piled in a glass and covered with toppings, add a little flair, a twist of the wrist and they are works of art – Edible Art!  With names like The ClubSmokey Sub BBQAutumnCarbonnaraMac’n Mashtini,  Thankstini, and Sweet TaterTwist.

Perfecting Potatoes - Mashtini/MashPatiniBob Evans offers recipesvideos, even a downloadable Mashtini Planning Guide!

When is YOUR next Mashtini (MashPatini) Party??

Images from BobEvans Mashtini and Great Food Fun Places

Gourmet Ghoul Greetings

This fun collection of unusual Ghouls is quite an unexpected greeting on Halloween!

IMG_3312

Jack-O-Lanterns??

S U R P R I S E !

These friendly  Ghouls foods are quite extraordinary !!!

Ghouls Galore

Have a Spook-tacular Halloween!

Spooktacular Halloween

HOW DID HALLOWEEN START? Spooktacular Halloween

According to one explanation:  Halloween was first celebrated over 2000 years ago in Europe, in an area that is now Great Britain and Ireland. A group of people called the Celts lived there. On the last day of October, they celebrated the harvest with a holiday called Samhain (sa-wain). The Celts believed that on Samhain, ghosts came and killed crops.  So, they left out food to keep the spirits happy; and wore masks and costumes during their celebrations.

As people moved around and brought different religions and traditions, holidays were added and changed. November 2nd became “All Souls Day” – a holiday to honor the dead. And November 1st became “All Saints Day” or “All Hollows Day” – a holiday to remember saints. October 31st became “All Hollows Eve” – the evening before “All Hollows Day”.  The name got shortened to “Halloween”.

How do some people celebrate Halloween today? People still dress up in costumes. People still give out food, too (Trick or Treating candy or small snacks). Many of the foods we eat in celebration of Halloween are related to the fall harvest, like pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, nuts and popcorn. We also bob for apples.

One Halloween tradition is to carve pumpkins . . .Spooktacular Halloween

. . . into JACK-O-LANTERNS!

Spooktacular Halloween

Spooktacular Halloween

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Spooktacular Halloween

Halloween history from Brain Pop Jr  with Annie and Moby

Images Credits:  M3, Happy Trails, and Great Food Fun Places

Tuesday Tidbits: Pumpkin Time!

It’s October.   It’s Fall.   It’s PUMPKIN TIME!

Pumpkin Time!

From Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and Cinderella Carriages Pumpkin Time! Cinderella Pumpkins to Thanksgiving Pies, these little (and sometime quite large) orange and round (mostly), vining ‘fruits’ are a ‘delicious and nutritious’ addition to our menus and are quickly becoming the talk of the town, gaining more respect each season as we discover creative and delicious ways to use, prepare and – yes, EAT them!  Recipes abound via the internet, from ‘soup to nuts (seeds) and I am eager to do some taste-testing!Pumpkin Time!

Considered an ‘underrated’ SuperFood, Pumpkins, and their seeds, are native to the Americas, and indigenous species are found across North America, South America, and Central America. They were an important Native American Indian food treasured  for their dietary and medicinal properties.

But first – Let’s start with the Seeds:Pumpkin Time!

DID YOU KNOW?

Pumpkin Seeds that date back to 7,000 B.C. were discovered in caves in Mexico by archeologists.

Pumpkin Seeds are filled with lots of minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper and are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin E, and vitamin B group (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6)

Pumpkin Seeds contain phytosterols (shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol) and  L-tryptophan (helps with good sleep and lowered depression.

Pumpkin Seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, reduce inflammation for arthritis without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs, and are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Pumpkin Time!

Pumpkin Seeds are good for prostate health.

Pumpkin seeds are the only seed that is alkaline-forming which is important in this world of highly acidic diets.

Pumpkin Seeds are called ‘Pepitas’ in Mexico where the Spanish phrase “pepita de calabaza” means “little seed of squash.”

Pumpkin seeds were very popular in ancient Greece.

 

Today, China produces more pumpkins and pumpkin seeds than any other country.

Pumpkin Time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

top left: Great Food Fun Places

top right: Good Books for Young Souls

center right:Kids Cooking

center: 123rf

lower right: Punch Bowl

bottom left: Diana Dishes

Coffee Art? This is Coffee Sculpture!

Wow! Now THIS Coffee Latte Art is the most amazing I have seen yet! I wish I’d had the fun of seeing it in person, but then…I wouldn’t ever be able to actually drink it (and disturb this adorable seen? No!!) But I am excited to share it here!

Latte Art is truly a unique talent…. amazing AND Fun!  I personally believe it changes the flavor of the drink but if that isn’t really true, I know it changes my enjoyment of it! And I am so fascinated, I have to take a picture of each one I have.

But this …. Wow – THIS is the most amazing I have seen yet:Coffee Latte Art Sculpture

 

The Ultimate Train – Chocolate!

From fun (and healthy) Fruity and Veggie Trains to the ultimate: A CHOCOLATE Train! (But, hey – chocolate is healthy too, right?).

Chocolate Train

Not only is this decadent chocolate train an amazing piece of artwork and sculpting, and a tribute to chocolate sculpting (read:  JOY TO CHOCOLATE).…..it might also be considered by some chocoholics as a waste of good chocolate – especially if no one is ever going to get to eat any of it!

Confirmed to be pure chocolate (no other materials used) and weighing over 2,755 pounds, nothing is said of the value of the chocolate used!  However, the talent, hours and chocolate invested, and overall size of this train is truly astounding.

Chocolate TrainUnveiled last November at a train station in Brussels, Belgium,  this train, made entirely of chocolate, set a new Guinness World Record as the longest chocolate structure in the world.

Originally on display at the busy Brussels South station, the sculpture is 112-feet (34.05 meters) long and weighs over 2,755 pounds (1250 kilos).Chocolate Train

Chocolate TrainMaltese chocolate artist, Andrew Farrugia, spent over 700 hours constructing this masterpiece.

He was inspired last year after visiting the Belgian Chocolate Festival in Bruge: “I had this idea for a while, and I said,  ‘what do you think if we do this realization of a long chocolate train’, you know, because a train you can make it as long as you like.  Actually it was going to be much smaller than it was, but I kept on adding another wagon, and another wagon, and it’s the size it is today.”  Farrugia had previously built a smaller train of 12 feet for an event in Malta, which he said gave him insight about how to build this much larger version.

The train’s many components include seven wagons modeled after

Chocolate Train

Chocolate Trainmodern Belgian trains. The remaining trains recall Belgium’s older train wagons, including one with a bar and restaurant.

Chocolate Train

Most of the structure was constructed in Farrugia’s home country, but the world record almost wasn’t — many pieces were damaged in transit to Brussels.  Three days before the event, Farrugia transported the chocolate train by truck in 25 wooden boxes from Malta to Belgium.

Farrugia said the train incurred considerable damage during the drive and several of the train’s walls had completely collapsed. Luckily, with hard work and little sleep, the chocolate artist was able to fix all the damages before presenting the train to the public on Monday.

After measuring the length of the train and confirming no material other than chocolate was used, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records added a new category to the collection of world records and declared the train to be the longest chocolate structure in the world.  The train will be on display at various chocolate museums in Belgium as well as at the Brussels’ train museum.

 

A VIDEO (From NTDTV):Video: Chocolate Train

MORE INSIGHTS (From The Telegraph):

(Contains video from AP)

The train, which is on show near the Eurostar train platform at Brussels’ Gare du Midi, was created to promote the country’s chocolate industry in the face of shrinking European market.

Belgium’s three hundred chocolate companies produce some £2 billion worth of chocolate every year.

Global trends suggest that demand for luxury chocolate is growing in emerging economies, but slowly shrinking in richer countries, with production slowly shifting to new markets where labour costs are low and the beans do not have to be shipped to Europe to be processed.

Since the recession, Belgian chocolatiers have been shielded from a dip in local demand by growing demand in eastern Europe and emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The Belgian tourist minister Christos Doulkeridis said the industry was well able to withstand the growing international competition.

“We have the science and artisans to do it. We promote the chocolate of quality,” he said.

Chocolate Train Video

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS (From The Huffington Post)

World News - Nov. 19, 2012

World News - Nov. 19, 2012

World News - Nov. 19, 2012

 

 

“All Aboard! Who’s on the Veggie Train?”

More Fun Food-Art

Not only an adorable Veggie Train – there is also the Fruity Train – both great ideas for fun – and edible – food center pieces!

Veggie Train Food Art

 

Fruity Train Food Art

 

 

From Raw Food Rehab:  “All Aboard! Who’s on the Veggie Train? More veggie cuteness via Sunwarrior

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

This was a fun family project:  Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs.

Tie Dyed Easter Eggs

 Using men’s neckties purchased at Goodwill and similar places (or pull some out of the back of the closet!), wrap eggs with swatches of fabric, secure with string, and boil to extract the colors.

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

We were having so much fun, we sent the troops out to purchase more eggs.

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

And on Easter Sunday….have a glorious egg hunt!

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

Tuesday Tidbit: Natural Egg Dyes

Natural Egg Dyes

 

Egg dyeing is a fun way to celebrate this time of year—and it’s a tradition that goes way back—as much as 5,000 years when Persians celebrated springtime with eggs colored with plant-based dyes. Plant dyes can be just as useful today and they’re plentiful; in fact you very well might have dye-worthy ingredients in your kitchen already.

Read More: This wonderful article from Co+op Stronger Together shares some great plant-based dyes—fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers and some great ideas of how to get the job done.

More Ideas and Guidelines:

 

Cappuccino in Columbia

Latte Art is a delightful presentation of ‘decorated’ coffee and is  always done with care. Apparently it is not exclusive to urban coffee houses!  One would not expect to find such care and artistic ability such as this presentation, in a little out-of -the-way place, a “hidden away backpacker’s paradise”, in Columbia, South America.

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This exquisite work of art was served to an author of a travel blog and his wife in the little town of  Salento, Columbia,  the gateway to the Cocora Valley” where a lot of the different types of coffee beans area grown. Besides coffee beans (and exquisite coffee ‘art’) in the Cocora Valley, one will find the “Parque Nacional de Cafe” (National Coffee Park). This is a theme park offering a museum and exhibitions detailing the history, culture and process of growing and producing coffee. An amusement park also in the valley has rides and shows and is connected to the exhibitions by a cable car (gondola lift); or, one can walk between the two areas via an ecological trail that passes through a plantation of many varieties of coffee bushes.

Perhaps it isn’t such a surprise to discover a carefully (and artistically) decorated Cappucino after all!

Read more…

Grab a cup of coffee and settle back for a delightful and entertaining read from Travellingmoons.

Start at the beginning and learn a little more about Travellingmoons here.

Or find out whatt the Travellingmoons are up to today: http://travellingmoons.blogspot.com

ENJOY!!